Life is beautiful gift. From the sand between our toes to tall, snowcapped peaks. From the sun that warms our days to the glow of the midnight moon.
Do you take time each day to notice the early morning shadows on the mountains, or the new yellow flowers that have come into bloom? On a crisp, still day, do you stop to take a deep breath in and listen to the singing birds?
One of the things that make life such a precious gift are the people with whom we share this beautiful Earth. An array of cultures adds color to the world, and while we don’t always understand our differences, most of us are the same at heart – compassionate and kind.
When you turn on the news these days, it’s often hard to remember life’s gifts. Between natural disasters and those caused by man, current events have escalated anxiety, anger and fear in many of us. Thoughts that used to spawn feelings of excitement and joy, like traveling the world and meeting new people, are tainted with apprehension and doubt; our desire to boldly embrace life turns inward to self-preservation.
This fall, my husband and I finally took advantage of a house trade in Italy after eight years of being “too busy to take time off.” The opportunity was expiring and we knew it was now or never. But why did it really take us eight years to travel to a new place we knew little about? I know for me, those eight years were tainted with fear from the many horrific events that kept taking place around the world. It was safer to just stay home.
When making travel arrangements, we consciously selected our route. We would go through JFK and Heathrow on the way out, but traveling home on September 11, we would choose Madrid and Dallas – because nothing ever happens there. And then it did. Barcelona in August. The fear of an attack coupled with the uncertainty of how the world views the United States these days created additional anxiety. It took a lot of encouragement to convince myself to move forward without fear. “Don’t pack anything with an American flag; try not to look too American”; sad self-talk that doesn’t serve well.
After a long journey of planes, buses, and cute little Fiats, we arrived safely in the beautiful seaside town of Cesenatico. Located on the eastern coast along the Adriatic Sea, this popular vacation destination attracts mostly Austrians, Germans and Italians. In fact, we felt like the only Americans in town. During our stay, we met so many great people, all filled with passion for life, family and food. For many, their dream was to go to the United States; apprehension and fear didn’t seem to exist. Everyone embraced us, and each other, with unabated kindness and joy. We laughed that the many American flags we saw were donned by Germans. It opened my eyes to the realization that all that self-talk and negative emotion are a regrettable waste of time – and stress. I felt shame for even having those thoughts. Our journey across the globe was a magical experience and one of our best vacations ever.
It only took a week home watching the evening news to prompt the need to escape once again. Two weeks away reminded us of who we really are (singularly and together) and the importance of taking time off; we wanted to hold onto those feelings.
The thought of the bustling season ahead evoked the stillness of nature, so we headed to Mammoth to camp. We used to camp a lot as kids, but it had been a very long time and we once again asked ourselves ‘why?’ The overwhelming beauty of the mountains, blue skies, tall trees and pristine lakes coupled with the simplicity of our daily routine – fishing, hiking and reading a book – further reminded us that life is a precious gift to be embraced and celebrated.
Releasing negative emotions caused by events out of your control is often easier said than done. It’s important to remember that sometimes simply changing your own environment can help ease the burden. Visiting a foreign country can remind you of how many good people there are in the world and how many new friends we all have yet to meet. And getting back to nature is sure to awaken a true appreciation for life that exists within us all. There is so much beauty in the world. In fact, there is much more beauty than there is bad. Sometimes you just have to step out of your own world to find it once again.
Editorial by Lauren Del Sarto, Publisher, who can be reached at Lauren@DesertHealthNews.com